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UK engineering vacancies plummet as Covid-19 pandemic hits hard

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The number of engineering-sector jobs posted on a recruitment site has dropped by 74.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the year before, CV Library has said.

The figure lays bare the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the jobs market even with the UK’s ongoing engineering skills shortage.

CV Library analysed millions of data points from its site between April 1 and June 20, to build an understanding of how the UK job market fared during these months.

It saw a 220 per cent increase in the number of applicants per job demonstrating the high amount of competition for every vacancy, with 10.2 applications made per vacancy in Q2 2019, to 32.9 in Q2 2020.

On the plus side the jobs website said that average pay actually rose by 6.9 per cent year-on-year.

Lee Biggins, CV-Library CEO, said: “It’s no secret that lockdown measures stunted the UK economy and labour market during this period.

“As a result, businesses had no choice but to put a pause on their hiring plans and make difficult decisions about their workforce.

“These figures are pretty bleak and naturally, some industries and locations have been more affected by others. What I can say, however, is that the market is already showing signs of recovery this month, albeit it very, very slowly.”

He added that he anticipates applications will increase in the coming months as the Government’s furlough scheme comes to an end.

Engineering firm Lontra recently said it had been “overwhelmed” with 15,000 applications for just 10 jobs on a new assembly line.

The new line in Tyseley, Birmingham will be used to assemble industrial machines from components manufactured across the UK.

Steve Smith-Howes, of recruitment agency Glue Resourcing, said: “This is an unprecedented volume of applications for a job posting even accounting for the recession triggered by Covid-19.

“Although roles with fast-growth manufacturing firms such as Lontra are seen as highly attractive, reflecting the world class skills and ambitions of the local workforce, I’ve never known anything like it in 30 years of recruitment.”

Steve Lindsey, Lontra’s chief executive, said: “A buoyant software sector is of real value to the UK, but it will be outliers such as ourselves that transform the UK’s manufacturing and construction sectors.

“Manufacturing and exports create a strong bedrock for an economy, delivering productive and rewarding jobs that people are proud of. It is these jobs that we should be investing in as a country.”

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